Brian Burke plucked Clarke MacArthur from the free-agent pool last summer and signed him to a one-year deal worth $1.1 million.
If Burke and company had known that this 25 year-old left winger from Lloydminster, Alberta would have such impact after 59 games and lead the team in points and assists, you can bet they would have signed him to a much longer deal at such a good price.
But as we well know, hindsight is 20-20.
Burke has said that he will start up negotiations with MacArthur’s camp this week but "if he’s not going to agree to something that makes sense, we're going to listen (to trade offers)" (Thanks again to muh boy Tony Ambrogio’s Twitter.)
How much is MacArthur worth and what can Burke sign him for, or in the later scenario get for him in trade, is a good question.
Milan Hejduk ($3 mil) and Paul Stastny ($6.6 mil) have the exact same numbers at this point, 17 goals and 28 assists for 45 points. Other players right around these numbers, plus or minus a couple goals or assists, include Thomas Vanek ($6.4 mil), Ville Leino ($825k), Alex Steen ($2.75 mil), Patrice Bergeron ($5.75 mil), Dany Heatley ($8 mil), Alex Tanguay ($1.7 mil) and Joe Pavelski ($4 mil).
Now most of those names are have long locked-in contracts for some very BIG dollars and if MacArthur is, after this breakout year, expecting anything near that, he’s high as a kite.
Legitimately, he should see himself getting a contract between Tanguay’s $1.7 mil and Steen’s $2.75 mil for three years.
You’d have to think that could be in Toronto’s range with over $20 million in cap space next year, though they have some big contracts to work out.
If MacArthur is dreaming about $3 million-plus, we could be bidding him a bon voyage before the deadline hits.
I’m sure Leafs Nation is hoping MacArthur and his agent aren’t trying to squeeze blood from a stone and that Burke can get something done here.
At only 25 years of age, Mac may still have room to grow, though the possibility that he may have reached his peak potential this season still looms.
All in all MacArthur has endeared himself to many a Leaf fan, including myself, and I’d hate to see him go to another team and succeed, as many a Leaf player before him has done.